After chatting on Irvine Beat FM today about the positive uses of drones and the best starter drones (in my opinion) for people who want to start flying drones as a hobby, I thought i’d add a couple of our favourites, the reasons why we like them and some further advice here. We would always buy from a reputable shop and we’ve added links to these models on Amazon as they have always been very good when it come to returns etc (when purchased from them).
This post is not endorsed or paid for in any way, we’re just offering our experience and that of other Commercial Drone Pilots and offering up the best solutions up to this point.
So where should you start?
We suggest starting small and building up. Smaller drones are cheaper to buy, have cheaper batteries, are cheaper to repair and you can learn indoors with the best learner drones below.
We also suggest buying a drone with a handheld controller. Tablets and phones are great as screens, but they make operating drones far too awkward as you don’t get any feedback from the controls.
Best learner drones
We tend to favour Hubsan just now for smaller drones, they are reliable, tough, cheap and easy to fly and there’s plenty of people and shops selling them and the spares.
Hubsan X4 H107C – No Frills all Fun with 480p Camera
Its really cheap, great fun and cheap and easy to fix while you learn to fly, we use the Hubsan X4 model still to this day. This wee drone is not limited to indoors either, its a powerful wee drone capable of flying outdoors well (within limits) so you can enjoy wider spaces once you feel more comfortable.
The Hubsan X4 has no height control or GPS so you really are in control and its your skill that keeps this wee drone in the air. That isn’t to say its too difficult to fly, it just helps you practice and learn how to truly fly which adds to all the fun of flying, and if you move on to a more expensive drone later on, you’ll know how to properly fly it if the technical systems fail or you want to play in sport modes.
Start in the easy mode and you’ll have reduced sensitivity and power which is great for beginners, and then as you feel more confident, crank it up to pro mode and enjoy more speed and sensitive controls.
Hubsan H107C+ with 720p Camera, GPS altitude hold and return to home
Similar to the Hubsan X4 this wee drone adds Altitude hold and more stability right out of the box, so for those of you nervous about getting started you could opt for this instead. We still feel the X4 is the best starter and provides better training and more fun but the H107C+ will still be fun, cheap to repair and great indoors and out.
Batteries don’t last long with these wee drones and you’ll get around 7 mins of flight per battery, but they are very cheap and we bought a few extra batteries plus a few packs of spare propellers too for lots of fun on a tiny budget.
Drones as you develop your skills
There are lots of Hubsan drones and you can improve on features without spending a fortune as you learn and develop your skills which is great for budding drone pilots of all ages.
Once you start to look above this level then it all comes down to features, size and of course your budget. You can’t beat DJI products just now, they seem to have almost all levels and budgets covered, but be aware no matter which brand you choose, New Rules and Laws coming to the UK later in 2019 requiring registration of drones of certain sizes and weights are on the way, so its worth looking at the links below from the CAA for more info.
Most if not all (as far as we know all) Home Insurance Providers DO NOT cover / Insure drones. They class them as motorised vehicles and not included in your policy.
This isn’t really a problem for the small starter drones we mentioned above, as they are cheap to replace or repair and unlikely to create an accident, but larger drones (250g and above) tend to be quite expensive to repair and replace and could create more dangerous issues if involved in an accident. Liability then falls with you.
We suggest getting in touch with a Drone Insurance specialist like CoverDrone who offer policies for Pay as you go, Hobby and Commercial Drone Pilots or Hobby Club insurance providers who may even be able to get you into flying with others in special club locations.